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University of Massachusetts


A Game Theoretic Procedure For Learning Hierarchically Structured Strategies

Benjamin Rosman is a PhD student at the University of Edinburgh. His research interests are centred on intelligent decision making, skill acquisition and concept formation of agents in large adversarial worlds. He completed his MSc in Intelligent Robotics in 2009 also at the University of Edinburgh, and has BSc Honours both in Computer Science and Applied Mathematics, from the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa.

Title: A Game Theoretic Procedure for Learning Hierarchically Structured Strategies

Abstract: This paper addresses the problem of acquiring a hierarchically structured robotic skill in a nonstationary environment. This is achieved through a combination of learning primitive strategies from observation of an expert, and autonomously synthesising composite strategies from that basis. Both aspects of this problem are approached from a game theoretic viewpoint, building on prior work in the area of multiplicative weights learning algorithms. The utility of this procedure is demonstrated through simulation experiments motivated by the problem of autonomous driving. We show that this procedure allows the agent to come to terms with two forms of uncertainty in the world – continually varying goals (due to oncoming traffic) and nonstationarity of optimisation criteria (e.g., driven by changing navigability of the road). We argue that this type of factored task specification and learning is a necessary ingredient for robust autonomous behaviour in a “large-world” setting.

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